Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid shared a rare goalless draw in the first derby at the Wanda Metropolitano in a result that will have delighted league leaders Barcelona.
The last time a LaLiga clash between the two capital clubs finished 0-0 was back in 2005, and since then only one of 39 meetings between the rivals in all competitions had failed to produce a goal – the 2014/15 Champions League quarter-final first leg.
But defences ruled the roost at Atletico’s impressive new 68,000-capacity home ground, which provided an electric atmosphere to a match that failed to spark.
Local bragging rights might have been shared between the two arch-rivals, but it will be Barca wearing the smiles tonight as they now boast a 10-point advantage over their two likeliest title challengers.
It may not quite be an unbridgeable gap, with only 12 games gone, but it is firmly advantage Barca.
The Catalan outfit turned up the heat on the Madrid sides earlier in the day by beating Leganes 3-0 and that pressure, combined with the usual tensions involved with a derby, looked to inhibit both sets of players rather than inspire them as the first half passed with precious few goalmouth incidents.
The clearest chance of the opening period – indeed the whole match – actually arrived inside the opening three minutes when Atletico looked to capitalise on a loose pass by Marcelo, only for Angel Correa to dink wide with only Kiko Casilla to beat.
Real looked the more likely scorers after that, with Toni Kroos firing into the side-netting following good link-up play with Cristiano Ronaldo, who soon after saw a free-kick turned wide by Jan Oblak after bouncing awkwardly in front of the Atletico keeper.
Sergio Ramos also had a half-chance but could not direct his near-post header on target in the 35th minute. Ramos was left with a bloody nose in that incident after Lucas Hernandez’s boot connected with his face and, while the Spain international was able to continue for a while, he was replaced at the interval.
Opportunities were again at a premium in the second half until the game opened up a bit in the closing stages, which included a number of rejected penalty appeals and several openings.
The best of them fell to Atletico in the 78th minute, when good work by Fernando Torres put his fellow substitute Kevin Gameiro in on goal. The France international looked to have done the hard work as he lifted the ball over Casilla, but Raphael Varane got back to head off the line.
Ronaldo then saw a free-kick from out wide pushed away by Oblak, who spilled a fizzing shot from Kroos but was saved by a team-mate.
The final chance fell to Ronaldo in the 88th minute but the unmarked Portugal star, with only one LaLiga goal to his name this season, saw his shot superbly blocked by the flying Lucas.